"The best way to hide something is to place it in open view." - Dr. John Coleman, author and an ex-member of British MI6.
Irving 'Scooter' Libby went on trial this week in the nation's capital on charges of perjury, making false statements and obstruction of justice for lying to the FBI and to a Grand Jury. The case centers on a leak of a CIA operative's name -Valerie Plame- to the media. If the Special Prosecutor, Patrick J. Fitzgerald, had also added a conspiracy count in the indictment against Libby, this matter would have, potentially, placed the Bush-Cheney Gang in the dock for launching a war of aggression against Iraq, based on a pack of lies. Instead, we have a court battle, which will be legally limited to the accused alone, that will decide whether Libby was suffering from a 'faulty memory,' or not, when he gave his testimony. (1) Even if convicted, Libby, I suspect, like another shadowy Neocon before him, Elliott Abrams, will probably soon be pardoned and awarded a federal government sinecure.
Background: Libby, a presidential advisor and chief of staff to V.P. Dick Cheney, was indicted on Oct. 28, 2005.  He is a quintessential inside-the-Washington-D.C.-beltway politico and also a rabid Iraqi-War hawk. Libby was one of that blood-stained conflict's leading proponents, along with others in the 'White House Iraq Group,' (WHIG).  A zealous Neocon, Libby has a long personal relationship with the primary architect of the Iraqi War-- Paul 'The Wolf' Wolfowitz.  In fact, Libby has been described by Slate's pundit, John Dickerson, as a 'Neocon's Neocon.' 
As I have written earlier on this matter, when Plame's husband, former U.S. Ambassador Joseph C. Wilson, revealed that Iraq's Saddam Hussein had not sought 'uranium from an African country,' as claimed by President George W. Bush in his State of the Union speech, on Jan. 28 2003, Libby went ballistic. It later turned out that the 'Niger documents' had been forged. (6) In any event, perhaps to hide the fact that it was a lie that Baghdad was a nuclear threat to the U.S., Libby, and others, launched a vicious campaign to personally discredit Wilson, using his CIA-based spouse, as the primary target. He got into trouble doing that because it's a federal crime to 'out' a covert CIA agent. 
There are much bigger questions in this matter, however, which prosecutor Fitzgerald has failed to flush out in his narrowly constricted probe of Libby. Fixing intelligence to get the country into a war is a massive crime against the Republic, in my opinion. If proven, it should lead to the impeachment of both President George W. Bush and Cheney. (8) Yet, that paramount issue probably won't see the light of day in this case, because Fitzgerald chose not to make it a matter in dispute by excluding the conspiracy count. There is one very long shot possibility of how it still might come in as evidence at the trial, which I will address in just a moment.
Meanwhile, try these four relevant questions on for size: What was Libby trying to cover-up by smearing Ambassador Wilson? Who put him up to the smear tactics? Who knowingly assisted Libby in his effort to either 'out' Plame and/or mislead the FBI and/or the Grand Jury? What were Libby's real motives? There is something else that is very odd about the Libby case. As I mentioned above, in most every major indictment of a public figure, a drug dealer, a politician, union official or Mafia kingpin, a conspiracy count is utilized by the federal prosecutor in the charging document. Generally, its use is pro forma.
Why is a conspiracy count used? It's because a conspiracy count in an indictment allows a skilled prosecutor to resort to hearsay evidence in order to prove some parts of his case. It also throws a wider net over the supposed wrongdoing of the accused. It's possible to prove that someone conspired to commit a crime, like outing a CIA agent, or perjury or obstructing justice, without proving the distinct offense itself. It's a powerful weapon at trial, which makes it a lot easier for the prosecutor to nail a defendant and his cohorts. Yet, in the Libby case, Fitzgerald, an experienced prosecutor, neglected to include this primary prosecutorial tool in the indictment. Why did he failed to do that? Why did Fitzgerald chose to protect from public view the dastardly scheme which got us into this unlawful Iraqi War?
By comparison with the Libby trial, consider the fate of ex-state Sen. Thomas Bromwell Sr. of Maryland. His trial on bribery charges begins in March, 2007, in the U.S. District Court in Baltimore. The prosecutor, the U.S. Attorney for Maryland, Rod J. Rosenstein, has hit the defendant, not only with multiple bribery counts, but conspiracy counts, as well. He has also invoked the draconian federal racketeering statute, (RICCO), which allows him to seize assets of the defendant before the trial even begins. Rosenstein has even indicted Bromwell's wife on conspiracy charges! Six guilty pleas have been extracted from other individuals tied to this widespread probe of public corruption. The defendants' assets have "been frozen" by the court, even though they are personally presumed to be innocent. In other words, Rosenstein, in a criminal case that pales in significance to the importance of the Libby matter and to the well-being of our Republic, has thrown the book, and the kitchen sink, too, at the Bromwells. The full arsenal of prosecutorial powers is being utilized. These weapons are, indeed, awesome, even predatory in nature. Yet, the Libby case has gotten the kid gloves' treatment. Why? (9)
There is public speculation that Cheney will testify on Libby's behalf. I don't think that will happen. I believe the decision has already be made to toss Libby overboard. This was recently Donald Rumsfeld's fate. If Cheney were to take the stand, he might, inadvertently, under oath, open up a can of worms. On cross examination, he could be asked this question: What exactly was Libby doing in the White House, which impacted his ability to remember that it was he who had divulged the name of Plame to reporters, and not the other way around? An honest answer by Cheney could break open the entire putative sleazy business of "fixing" the intelligence to get us into the Iraqi war. The V.P. is much too clever, too diabolical, to put himself in that kind of vulnerable position. (10) This is also why Libby won't testify. And, if Cheney did testify, another U.S. Attorney General, in a Democratic administration, or an impeachment inquiry, might want to use his words in this case against him.
The trial judge, the Hon. Reggie B. Walton, has already indicated in court papers that he will seek to strictly limit any testimony of witnesses to the perjury, making false statements and obstruction of justice counts against Libby, re: the Plame Affair. In addition, no one should expect Fitzgerald to bring out at the trial any evidence of a cabal lying the country into an unjust and illegal war. He excluded that real possibility by failing to put a conspiracy count or counts in the "USA v. Libby" indictment. Fitzgerald also didn't look to nail others who may have been supposedly "fixing" the intelligence, with Libby, to justify a war with Iraq. (11)
Finally, Fitzgerald, with close ties to Rudy Giuliani, has failed the people. He gave Libby what amounted to a traffic court citation. The nation has lost the lives of 3,026 of its bravest sons and daughters in Iraq and has created a bloodbath for the peoples of Iraq. Those responsible for lying us into that war have gone unindicted and unpunished. Now, they are ready to lie us into yet more conflict in Iraq, and possibly, a war with Iran. When will the people wake up and put a stop to these evil schemes?
1. "Libby's Defense Hinges on 'Faulty Memory,'" Richard B. Schmitt, LA Times.
3. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White_House_Iraq_Group and http://www.afterdowningstreet.org/?q=node/661
4. http://rightweb.irc-online.org/profile/1271 and http://www.unknownnews.net/031102a-be.html and
5. http://www.slate.com/id/2128530/?nav=ais and
7. ÒA Leak, Then a Deluge,Ó by Barton Gellma, Washington Post, 10/30/05.
8. http://www.afterdowningstreet.org/ and
9. "Bromwell's Severance Targeted by Prosecutor in Corruption Case," Matthew Dolan, Baltimore Sun, 01/13/07.
11. The Irving "Scooter" Libby's criminal trial is taking place in the U.S. District Court House, a federal courthouse, in Washington, D.C. It's named after E. Barrett Prettyman. See, http://news.findlaw.com/hdocs/docs/plame/usvlibby102805ind.pdf
William Hughes is the author of 'Saying 'No' to the War Party' (IUniverse, Inc.). He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org